?

Log in

No account? Create an account

One of the things in mah brainmeats - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 28th, 2012

09:37 am - One of the things in mah brainmeats

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Because I'm like that, I've been trying to get to the bottom of this malaise I'm feeling. Someone yesterday suggested there may be a physical cause to it but I'm struggling to accept that because I eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. If anything, I should be healthier than ever based on my lifestyle choices. However I can buy that I might have been overdoing it - particularly with having two circus classes this term, one day after the other. I guess after this term is over I should make a decision which way I want to go - partner acro, or handbalancing.

What I really want to do is adagio, which is neither of the above - but they don't have those sort of classes at the circus hub and the two I'm doing both provide the type of skills I'd need in a different way. The acro that Mark teaches is cheerleading-based which isn't really my cup of tea, but it's been a challenge and is fun, so.. hmm. Dunno.


I don't get sick.

Of course, this isn't entirely true. Everyone gets sick - but traditionally, I only get sick in the body when I'm sick in the head. People telling me I look unwell only happens when I'm unhappy. And when I'm not happy I can't hide it because it pervades my entire existence and my body betrays me. So if there's something going on with my body, barring accidents and exposure to ebola, you can guarantee that the root cause of it is in my head.

So what's in my head at the moment? Lots of stuff.

One of the things I've written about here a bit is my current obsession with Dragon Age. I have a complex relationship with this, and I'm about to try and untangle it so if this sort of navel-gazing bores you, stop reading here.

OK. So it's been established that I'm a gamer from way back. I gave two years of my life to WoW, which is a small amount compared with some folks, but in that time I was pretty dedicated. I was also single. You see, historically I hadn't been allowed to play video games.

"Allowed? ALLOWED?!? WTF Tats since when does anyone ALLOW you do do anything?"

Heh. Yeah. Well, let's just say that I didn't used to be the same person I am now. I used to give a lot more of a crap about approval, and as some of you are aware that led me into some not-so-savoury relationship situations. One of those was being with controlling people. Dave saw computers and the internet, and especially games, as a threat. When I was doing them I was not giving my attention to him. My first interactions with the internet caused me to see it primarily as a communication tool and so I would have conversations in chat rooms (remember them?) with people in other countries and find out about their lives and it was awesome IMO. In his O, I was somehow 'cheating', and also wasting my time doing things that weren't real when I could be out saving the planet or kayaking or any one of a number of things that he thought would be better use of my time than what I was actually doing.

He would berate me about this, and also sulk and withdraw emotionally. Emotional withdrawal of my loved ones makes me shrivel up inside, it's the worst punishment you can inflict on me, and he knew this. It was effective. So I tried to not be a gamer, not use the internet, to be constantly present for him, and spend my free time doing worthy things. But I'm not that person, I'm me, and I like talking to people on the internet and playing games that involve disappearing into fantasy worlds for hours at a time. So I'd do it when he wasn't around, and I'd always feel guilty about it and make sure that when he was there, I was not indulging myself at his expense. It felt a lot more like cheating once I had to hide it, and not being able to do it whenever I wanted made me want to do it a lot more when I could.

So gaming turned into something I felt guilty about. Particularly, spending time gaming when my partner was around, because if I really loved him I'd want to be with him doing things, right? Right? Choosing a game over my partner for Things To Do In My Free Time was a clear demonstration that I wasn't committed to the relationship - what did these virtual people have to offer that he didn't? Etc. Needless to say, that relationship was doomed, but in the end it wasn't me who left - he left me because I'd stifled myself so much trying to be what he wanted that I wasn't the person he wanted any more. Yeah, that was fun.

Imagine my relief and amazement when I finally met people who understood that gaming is just another hobby and not a Sign Of Something! Imagine how awesome it is to have a partner who's as into gaming as I am, and supports my choice to spend a significant amount of my free time doing it without feeling threatened. It really really is awesome. *hugs dr wheel*

Sadly, my lizard-brain still thinks I should feel bad about it.To which I say "Shut up, lizard-brain, U No Can Make Me." And it can't. But I still have that vague sense that I'm doing something a bit wrong when I spend a lot of time gaming. I should be doing Productive Things! Playing games doesn't achieve anything! Etc.

Meanwhile, I also feel guilty about my obsessive nature. Normally I manage to squash it, or it peters out eventually if I indulge it. And I have no doubt that this obsession will peter out eventually as well - at least until the third game comes out, right? But meanwhile, I seem to have gone a bit deeper into this one than usual.

Normally I try to hide my obsessions because I think they are a defect in my personality, or relabel them as something else, or rework them into something worthy and productive. But this one, I have no show of doing that. And I don't want to hide it either because that makes me feel guilty, as if I'm doing something bad and being dishonest. I think I have found a fandom. I feel strange about that because I've always had a certain amount of contempt for the fandoms I see on the internet. I was introduced to the concept of fanfiction through the Harry Potter fandom, which doesn't resonate with me at all and because my intro was slash, I was just.. put off. I don't understand shipping at all - at least if it's not canon. Canon shipping I get, and it's through this that I've come to understand that there is fanfiction I like - I think it's called gen.

I like it when people take concepts that are introduced in canon but not fully explored, and write 'what if' type expositions that fill in gaps in the main story. So *braces self for admission* right now I'm reading fanfiction about Anders' life in the Circle Tower prior to the events of Awakening, and various takes on what it might be like to live with [Not for you, Happy]a Spirit of Justice in your head. I'm not interested in porn, unless it fits the story. The one I just finished was 300 pages with no sex. Go figure.

So yeah, reading fanfiction for the first time ever at 42, swallowing my derisive words uttered previously about fanfiction, feeling vaguely guilty and also kind of immature about it, but compelled to carry on because I like it. And in the interests of full disclosure, also watching fan videos, and bought a franchise book because someone told me it would fill me in on some lore that I want to know about.

I have it bad, and I'm struggling to assimilate this into my identity because a part of me still thinks there is something wrong with being so into something that adds nothing to the world, and is based entirely in fiction. I could be Creating! Building! Making! Instead I'm reading stories that explore ideas presented as fantasy, and finding that more fulfilling than living in the real world right now.

This is the third thing that bothers me about this - that I'm doing it. Escapist fantasy is exactly that - escapist. Why am I trying to escape? Well, I've had it up to the eyeballs with study, my job is alternately pushing shit uphill with a teaspoon and tediously boring with nothing to do, it's the middle of winter and I'm mostly just keeping on trucking out of a sense of duty rather than a desire to do so. I know this will all pass but right now, life is dull and uninspiring. So escapist fantasy lures me with its shiny escapism.

Thing is, I know that the way to make my life better is to tackle it head-on rather than run away from it into magical worlds, but.. I don't want to. I want to finish my degree, have a rest, go through the motions, and Just Not Put Effort In. At least for a while. And I feel guilty about that too. Surely if I berate myself enough I will drag my sorry arse out of this hidey-hole and do something. And if I fake it for long enough, it'll become the default and I'll get back to trucking, right? That's apparently what the English do best - we endure. And if we don't, we're weak, and weak is bad.

Welcome to my head, you don't have to be Catholic to feel guilt. In fact, I believe it's the Protestants who invented the idea that being productive is the only worthy activity for humans.

The protestants can kiss my arse, just saying.


There are other things, but this is a big one. Thank you, internet, for showing me that I'm not the only one that does this.

Today, this is making me happy:

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:kehleyr
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Heh... I keep looking at the attacking sheep :-D. It has me mesmerized :-D!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:kehleyr
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Btw what is adagio?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Really slow-moving balance/strength dance. It was this couple that inspired me to want to do it:



The stuff I'm learning is a lot more acrobatic and faster, and while the skills are similar, it's not what I ultimately want to do.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:kehleyr
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
(Link)
WOW... just... WOW! That's beautiful and holy crap the strength involved! Very impressive!!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:labelleizzy
Date:August 28th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
<<see icon
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
OMG that means we aren't actually the same person!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Never a truer word spoken.

as long as we don't mention the sinus infections
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:plantgirl
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I used to feel guilty when I read romance novels or cheesy mysteries instead of "real" literature, especially when I go on a multi-day or multi-week binge, & doubly-especially when I'm re-reading books I've read many times before. Lately it's been tv shows more than books, but I still have to fight the guilt. I could be Making or Doing or whatever the heck it is Productive People do with their lives.

But it's comforting to me. Re-reading (or re-watching) a series is like visiting with good friends. It's a universe I know & can use for perspective. I suspect being very involved in a game is a similar thing. You're diving into a universe & living there for a while, getting to know the people, the back story, the lay of the land. It's a puzzle & a home-coming.

You may find this relevant:
http://io9.com/5937626/watching-reruns-can-actually-help-restore-willpower

Anyway I'm tired the above may be more rambly than sensible. I think the tl;dr is "So escape for a while - it's ok."
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Huh. So that study suggests that my 'escapist fantasy' and obsession with continuing engagement with that world is possibly an innate rejuvenation mechanism to counter the negative stresses in teh default world. I can buy that.

So the question then becomes, do I go with it and milk it for all it's worth, or look at how to reduce the disciplines in my life?

So.Tired.Of.Forcing.Myself.To.Write.Essays.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:pombagira
Date:August 28th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
'So.Tired.Of.Forcing.Myself.To.Write.Essays.'

that thing above, is a very common end of degree feeling, that on gawd one more essay to write and i am done but i don't wanna i had it at the end of my degree and honours.. so i figure that it doesn't matter if you are doing it part time or full timr.. (and i would hazzard that working full time and studying part time is actaully much harder on the So.Tired.Of.Forcing.Myself.To.Write.Essays. thing )

umm.. err yeah.. do vitamin D like wot Rivet says

*skips about*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:anna_en_route
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I've found over time, that stories are incredibly valuable to me in my day to day life.

What with not really embracing religion, stories are a fantastic way of working through how I view the world, sort of like a map for day to day living.

Which is not to say that I read anything particularly literary, I just feel like I get something out of everything I read, watch or (of course) play.

Good for you, for valuing yourself enough to seek out the things that make you happy.

p.s. for you it was fanfiction...for me I've had to eat every ugly and dismissive thing I ever said about romance novels. It's nice to be wrong.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:wildilocks
Date:September 2nd, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
This. Stories are an intrinsic part of being human, and AFAIAC, a great deal of fanfiction is a damn site better than a much of what is squeezed out of the screen, audio & print media mills, and streets ahead of religious dogma. The main problem with fanfiction is that such a huge proportion of it is so appallingly badly written and largely unedited - including the stuff that gets REALLY big *coughfiftyshadescough*

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:pixiebelle
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm sorry you're dealing with issues of guilt... I would agree that your issues are mental if this stuff is really getting to you and it sounds like it has.

I'm glad you have someone who gets that it's a hobby.... I used to love video games too and I think I stopped out of guilt too. It's horrible that we feel this way. </p>

The first step to figure these things out for me? Writing them down. I hope this helps sort some things out for you.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:bekitty
Date:August 27th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Things like the Star Wars: Expanded Universe books, the Dragonlance books, and the Doctor Who novels are all basically fanfiction. Well-written, acknowledged as canon, but still basically fanfic. The gen that you're reading at the moment sounds like it's the kind of stuff that is most likely to get acknowledged as canon, or at the very least accepted as fanon. So it's just like reading a book, right? And there's nothing wrong with reading books. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ms_hecubus
Date:August 28th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
(Link)
Reading, exploring, thinking all exercise your brain. There's nothing wrong with it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:helianthas
Date:August 28th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
The things that come to my mind are
-Are you being present to/ while engaging in the fantasy world? To me, that would say you are deriving real value from the activity (vs just numbing out /distracting.)</p>

-If you're feeling so conflicted about it, can you give yourself a reasonable timeline to NOT feel guilty about it? It sounds to me that it's a healthy hobby that you enjoy, but you have this soundtrack going on in the back of your mind invalidating the part that says Hey, this is OK! So, if you tell the naysaying part, "Ok, you know what? I hear you. I'm not sure I totally believe you, but you may have a point. So, if I'm still knee deep in fanfic and feeling blah on October 15th, I'll reevaluate." as opposed to just trying to make it stop... (not sure if this makes sense)


(Reply) (Thread)
From:clashfan
Date:August 28th, 2012 04:10 am (UTC)
(Link)
How's the weather there? Getting enough sunlight? In late winter, I tend to get a little cranky for want of sunlight.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tieke
Date:August 28th, 2012 05:27 am (UTC)
(Link)
I've found that indulging my obsession with computer games has a tendency to trigger feelings of self-disgust, which if I'm not careful can blow up into depression, and I'm pretty sure it's because of the same issues that you describe (minus the baggage from abusive relationships). We're surrounded by a lot of messages that tell us that we're inferior if we play computer games, and I know that I've internalised some of that.

Thing is, when we were building the house, it was so stressful, that the only thing that successfully took my mind off of it was playing WoW. I secretly hated myself for it, but the alternative was to have no release whatsoever from the-huge-stressful-thing. Once the house building finished, my urge to play WoW just seemed to naturally subside over the next few months - I just got bored with it, strangely coincident with the-huge-stressful-thing that had mostly gone away.

So yeah - just saying that it all makes sense to me how you probably really badly need an absorbing game right now, but that conditioning mekes it hard to accept that.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2012 05:30 am (UTC)
(Link)
You know, I remind myself regularly that you're a gamer. It helps to still the voice that tells me I'm a useless human being, to know that someone who obviously isn't, still does it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:tieke
Date:August 28th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
(Link)
I find it helpful to remind myself that you game!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:rivet
Date:August 28th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
(Link)
I just came from the doctor, where we were looking at my bloodwork. Thyroid's looking stable at new dosage, but I have surprise!Vitamin D deficiency. Quite common down here. ::nudge::
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 28th, 2012 02:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I know the feeling. Interestingly enough I have protestant parents and grandparents and they were all about "productivity". Hm.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:nessaneko
Date:August 29th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"wasting my time doing things that weren't real when I could be out saving the planet or kayaking or any one of a number of things that he thought would be better use of my time than what I was actually doing."

Oh man my ex used to tell me the same thing. Except in my case it was reading things like stupid_free or the lolita communities. His favourite derisive phrase about them was "echo chamber". I still feel guilty if I spend too much time browsing reddit of an evening. Funny how those things get into the back of your mind, hey?

I am currently churning through a 15000 word research essay for my Human Rights course and a couple of nights ago I stayed up until 3am reading a 70k Inception fanfiction. I think you're in good company, and if it helps to tell your hindbrain to shut up because someone else at high levels of study is ALSO using fanfiction as an escapist relaxation technique, then go for it.

Also, sitting in the sunshine. It's helping.
(Reply) (Thread)